Chapter 10: Xiaoqi, Don’t Go Past The Walls
Official Song wasn’t just joking around when he said he was going to build a dam. Lately, he had truly been busy. He was gone without a trace by dawn and only returned after six in the evening.
Qian Xiaoqi had a tank of goldfish she could angle. Wen Ruoshui, on the other hand, was devastatingly bored.
Wen Ruoshui envied Qian Xiaoqi a lot and Qian Xiaoqi knew. Xiaoqi could feel it from her eyes.
Qian Xiaoqi ignored Wen Ruoshui who was standing nearby and staring at her impatiently. With one hand hugging Ha Pi and the other grasping a self-made branch fishing rod, Xiaoqi sat carefreely on the couch next to the large tank. Behind her was Lu Liu who was on standby to help Xiaoqi put fish food on the hook.
“Qian Xiaoqi, you’re too free and unfettered. Zhuo gege2 has to leave early and return late every day you should prepare food and drink for him and wait for him to come back.” Wen Ruoshui didn’t have anything to say so she dug up something random to say.
(2) 哥哥 – “ge ge” older brother, can be used to address someone not blood related
Qian Xiaoqi didn’t even lift her eyelid.
“Qian Xiaoqi, acting like this, you really don’t suit being Zhuo gege‘s wife. You, you’re, you’re too, too, you know how to enjoy life waaaay too much.”
Qian Xiaoqi laughed ‘hehe’. Behind her, Lu Liu also laughed. Wen Ruoshui’s face turned red. She had originally planned to scold some more, but when she saw Qian Xiaoqi lift the pole, she hurriedly looked over.
“Eh, why is it a straight hook?” Wen Ruoshui questioned.
“Tsk, what if I tore the mouths of the red carps with the hook? It’s not like I know how to fix it!”
Wen Ruoshui batted her eyes. “Then let me play for a while.”
Qian Xiaoqi thought about it, then also batted her eyes as she said: “Ruoshui jiejie, why don’t we go out to listen to book-telling? It’s really exciting.”
“Book-telling? Like an opera performance?”
Qian Xiaoqi was very proud of her own suggestion. How long has it been since she had gone out? Who could blame her for wanting to go out and look around?
“Is it pleasant to hear?”
“It’s pleasant. Stories are told and there’s all kinds of stories.”
Qian Xiaoqi saw that Wen Ruoshui was interested and said with a smile, “Official Song won’t let me run all over the place, but he definitely won’t scold Ruoshui jiejie. Jiejie, come with me to have a stroll outside together. We’ll hurry back early, Official Song definitely won’t find out. Even if does he find out, he still wouldn’t scold Ruoshui jiejie. Wouldn’t it be much more fun compared to staying inside the courtyard with nothing to do?”
Wen Ruoshui pouted. “I don’t have money, you’ll have to treat me.”
Qian Xiaoqi vigorously nodded and leaned the fishing rod vertically to one side. She lifted her hands to pass Ha Pi to Lu Liu, but after thinking for a moment, she said, “We better leave Ha Pi home after all.”
Qian Xiaoqi went to get some money from her own treasure chest while Lu Liu took out two male outfits that she and Xiaoqi often use. After reflecting, she also got one for Wen Ruoshui.
Wen Ruoshui seemed a bit excited as she looked at the man’s outfit in her hands. “Xiaoqi, how come you have something like this?”
Qian Xiaoqi silently laughed. “I don’t know, perhaps it’s for backup.”
Wen Ruoshui put on the man’s outfit. After Lu Liu finished helping her bind up her hair, she finally opened her mouth to ask, confused, “Why is a man’s outfit necessary? Are girls not allowed out on the streets here?”
Qian Xiaoqi fluttered her eyelashes as she said, “Ruoshui jiejie is too beautiful, what if a female outfit caught the attention of bad people?”
Wen Ruoshui smoothed her lips into a smile. After smiling her head tilted again and she pouted, slightly annoyed. “Xiaoqi only says things that are nice to hear.”
Lu Liu and Xiaoqi shared a look then stuck out their tongues at the same time and laughed ‘hehe’.
No matter what, it’s still the inner city so the streets were filled with people. Qian Xiaoqi pulled Wen Ruoshui, who had questions to ask about everything, onwards and intuitively entered a teahouse.
There were a lot of people inside the large teahouse. Xiaoqi pulled Wen Ruoshui’s hand and chose a not-too-conspicuous place to sit. Upon seeing that the teahouse had so many people and that the chairs were actually that type of bench, Wen Ruoshui asked curiously in a low voice, “Why do the people here squeeze in so much to sit?”
“To listen to the book-telling.”
“Oh, why don’t I see anyone in costume?”
Qian Xiaoqi rolled her eyes. “They still haven’t come out.”
Wen Ruoshui twisted her head to look towards the skewers near the door that were stuck full of tanghulu3 and the large black pot that was frying puffed rice on the roadside opposing the teahouse. She seemed to be really interested in these two things.
The guy frying the puffed rice brandished a bamboo broom and slowly pushed the contents of the pot around. The small grains of glutinous rice inside the large black pot slowly expanded. After a short while, it actually went from simply covering the pot bottom to filling half the pot.
Wen Ruoshui hugged Qian Xiaoqi’s arm and shook her while noisily saying, “Look, hurry, look! It grows! White and puffy.”
Qian Xiaoqi turned her head and looked at the puffed rice booth. Sighing, she replied in a low voice, “It’s popped glutinous rice, does Ruoshui jiejie wish to eat some?”
Wen Ruoshui repeatedly nodded. Xiaoqi said, “I’ll save your seats, you and Lu Liu go buy it. Bring me back some as well.”
“Okay!” Wen Ruoshui was very interested in that large black pot so she pulled Lu Liu and hurried out.
“Miss, please don’t wander off. I’ll be back in just a while,” Lu Liu said uneasily.
“En, en, just go, go. Buy some five-spice seasoned melon seeds too!”
“Bang!” In front of her stood a middle-aged man wearing a chang pao4 stood behind a table. He slammed the wooden block in his hand towards the table and absolute silence immediately spread.
Qian Xiaoqi released her held breath and watched as that book-telling Mister unhurriedly fixed his cuff, then in a magnetic voice slowly started projecting.
“Last time we got to, “The little fox immortal wandered the Three Islands seeking the medicine and spat out his source pellet to give emergency treatment to Meng Lang”, to where little fox immortal and Meng Lang parted with Master Zhen Yuan to be on their way. In the early morning, they saw a high mountain with endless rows of rugged peaks and valleys that twisted and turned. Tigers and wolves successfully drove in packs, muntjacs and deers were running in herds, and countless river-deers darted in crowds. The whole mountain was covered with foxes and rabbits all clustered together. Thousand-foot large pythons, ten-thousand fathoms long serpents. The large pythons puffed out mist, the long snakes spat strange wind. Then, look at the side of the road, thorny undergrowth grew unrestrained along the paths. Up on the mountain range were beautiful Chinese redwoods, wild fig-trees filled the eyes and fragrant grass stretched far into the horizon. The scenery of the azure sea to the north and clouds that opened the handle of the Big Dipper to the south. Ten thousand ancients were ever old as the primal essence, thousand wind towered in the cold light of day.” (Borrowing 《Journey to the West》26th chapter)
(5) It took me forever to search everything up, which is why the chapter late even though I was planning on one update a week. FYI, even though I did a lot of searching and cross checking, some of this might be off. I did my best to make some sense out of the individually translated characters, the above is a poem by the way. Also, I think the little fox immortal is the Monkey King, while Meng Lang is the monk. I think the author switched the names around, on purpose? So I kept it that way.
While I was searching I ended up finding this person’s generic summary of most of the episodes of Journey to the West which was actually quite humorously accurate based on what I could remember watching in my childhood. He/she notes that Journey to the West has a ton of poems as if the traditional scholars felt that only by having a poem could a point or argument be validated. Skim through it if you have free time, I found it pretty good~
More trivia, since this is already pretty long. When I glanced through it it felt like Meng Lang was a good-for-nothing cheating on the little fox immortal, but when you put it in perspective of the Journey to the West characters, blergh.
“Master Zhen Yuan” is, according to baidu, ‘the ancestor of the immortal’, he grows mandrake fruits
The book-telling Mister’s magnificent start drew a round of cheers. Qian Xiaoqi also followed and clapped with all her might. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw someone holding puffed rice sit down next to her and, without taking her eyes off the Mister, she reached out to grab a handful.
“That Meng Lang became hungry and had the little fox immortal search for alms6 to bring over. The little fox immortal spoke with a smile. Benefactor is very intelligent. This place is in the middle of the mountains. Ahead there’s not a single village and behind there exist no shops. I have money but there’s nowhere to buy, please enlighten me as to where to go to seek alms?”
(6) Alms as in the foods that monks eat, either donated by people or provided somehow by the temple. Often vegetarian, like grains of rice.
Qian Xiaoqi stuck her tongue out to lick up a mouthful of puffed rice and wrinkled her brows as she repeatedly nodded.
“Meng Lang’s heart felt a bit unhappy so his mouth scolded, ‘You fox! When you were at Mo Ya temple7, cast down by the senior monk, when you could speak but could not move, it was I who saved your life and helped you escape from that suffering. How could you not work hard and still harbor a lazy heart’!”
(7) The “senior monk” is probably Buddha. From what I remember, the monkey lost a bet with Buddha and was casted down from heaven. Buddha’s palm pressed on him and became a mountain, imprisoning him and it the was monk that freed him. The phonetics of the temple name also sounds like the words ‘pressed down’ so I think the author might’ve changed some stuff around in order to avoid blatantly copying.
Tsk! Qian Xiaoqi quietly sneered and thought silently, stinking useless old man. If you’re so great, go find food yourself! To dare to yell at the sweet little fox immortal! Qian Xiaoqi furiously finished the puffed rice in one swallow then reached out to grab another handful.
“The little fox immortal was a bit melancholic. He transformed into a butterfly and flew into the sky. Looking down, he saw pink at a distant place and, thinking it was ripened fruit, went to pick it for Meng Lang. Meng Lang who was resting at the mountain cliff suddenly saw a hairpin woman approach. Her light green sleeve gently swayed over jade white fingers8, the skirt trailed slanted and golden lotus feet peeked out.”
(8) According to baidu, the phrase originally referred to actual pure white bamboo shoots, but was later used to compare fingers, legs or scenery to the beauty of delicate white bamboo shoots… Wow. So, sleeves, I guess fingers.
Qian Xiaoqi made a bitter face as she ate the puffed rice then reached out to grab more. She searched a couple times but couldn’t grab any. In the end, she concluded that Wen Ruoshui was stingy and not letting her eat so Xiaoqi frowned, wiped her mouth, and continued to listen to the story.
“That woman was truly the epitome of frost fleshed jade bones9. Her garment’s collar revealed a soft bosom, her shapely eyebrows seemed perfectly painted umber, and silver stars flashed from her amber eyes. Her appearance was as charming as the moon, her nature naturally pure. Her body was like a swallow hidden by a willow tree, her voice like an oriole singing in the woods. Half releasing her cherry apple cover to shine in the day, she then opened the peony to fool spring.
(9) This is a chinese expression, used to praise woman’s skin as being bright and clean as jade, figure noble and refined. Much of the rest of the description is a poem.
Lust trap! Qian Xiaoqi ground her teeth.
“…Thus that little fox immortal picked some peaches, then transformed into a black hawk to hurried back, only to see Meng Lang and that good-looking woman becoming extremely intimate. The little fox immortal pushed down his rage to carefully watch and found out that woman was a corpse. If Meng Lang couldn’t resist the temptation and had sexual intercourse, he would definitely lose his life to the Yellow Springs10.
(10) The “Yellow Springs” are equivalent of the Chinese underworld. And now I’m 100% sure there were edits made. The monk was kinda dumb, but he was a monk! I don’t remember him ever giving in to sexual temptation even when a truly beautiful spirit stole him and trapped him in her cave for weeks. By truly beautiful, I mean like beautiful without transformation spells, ’cause a lot of monsters transformed in Journey to the West.
Qian Xiaoqi suddenly gripped the hand holding the paper bag full of puffed rice at the side and gave it a light shake as if to say they were sharing the same feelings. At the same time, her face still turned slightly red due to those words.
“The little fox immortal restrained his anger and continued observing, only to see that Meng Lang had already undressed. That girl’s entire body was white as jade…”
Qian Xiaoqi grasped that hand to the side lowered her face into it. One hand covered her ear as she said in a low voice, “How’d it turn to telling a pornographic story? Wasn’t it supposed to be about the little fox immortal’s wonderfully heroic martial prowess?”
From the above, her head came soft laughter. How was that voice Wen Ruoshui? It was clearly a man.
Qian Xiaoqi suddenly lifted her head and saw a pair of peach blossom eyes looking at her and smiling. Qian Xiaoqi abruptly shook off that hand and looked all around for half the day, but she didn’t see a shadow of Wen Ruoshui and Lu Liu.
“Thus, that Meng Lang and the woman were like dry firewood that alighted into a blaze. The female was a thousand ways charming and lovely. With ten thousand sorts of flirtatious behavior, she aroused Meng Lang until he lost track of himself…”
Qian Xiaoqi covered her ears, vexed, and angrily aimed a glare at those da laoyes11 below who were listening eagerly.
(11) 大老爷 – “da laoye” is pretty much great masters of the house. Lao ye translates to old grandpas, but are often used to simply address which ever male was the head of the household, and the person may be young. The ‘da’ may be either saying they’re old, big, or that they’re rich, or pompous. I’m guessing either old or pompous.
“Why is Mister talking about this part? Wasn’t this a story about the little fox immortal and Meng Lang?” That young man next to Xiaoqi spoke.
The book-telling Mister, seeing that someone objected, seamlessly changed the direction of the story. “The little fox immortal that was watching appeared in human form with a loud shout…”
The man turned towards Qian Xiaoqi with a refreshing smile and spoke in a low voice, “You can let go of your ears now, it’s been changed.”
Qian Xiaoqi shot a glance at the man and slowly put down both her hands. Lu Liu and Wen Ruoshui still hadn’t returned. Qian Xiaoqi wanted to leave, but she was afraid that if she went out to search she would end up lost, so she continued to wait, sitting on the bench fidgeting.
The man’s line of sight swept pass the tips of Qian Xiaoqi’s ears which were red as tomatoes. He noticed the tiny pierced hole on her ear and lifted the corners of his mouth into a smile.
“Is gongzi waiting for someone?” The man opened his mouth and spoke.
“En.” Qian Xiaoqi looked at the puffed rice in his hand and apologized with her face red. “Sorry for eating your things.”
“Haha, don’t worry, as long as little gongzi enjoyed it.”
Qian Xiaoqi turned her head to continue to listen to the story. The splendidly dressed gongzi smiled and said, “Gongzi came by himself?”
“Ah? No, with two.”
The splendidly dressed gongzi nodded. “This one12 is Chen Zigong. To meet gongzi is also fate, wonder how should I address gongzi?”
(12) He’s speaking humbly. As a reminder ‘gongzi’ is a way to address GUYS.
“Oh, I’m called Qian Qi13.”
(13) ‘Money Seven’ lol. To be fair she is using the characters of her real name. Her real name literally translates to Money, Little Seven
The splendidly dressed man raised his eyebrow. Qian Xiaoqi, not waiting for him to speak, interjected, “I know it’s vulgar, don’t laugh.”
“Haha, Qian Qi, pretty good.”
Qian Xiaoqi glanced at the splendidly dressed gongzi, his face was really, really… Qian Xiaoqi couldn’t find the right words to describe it for a while. If she were to say that Song Liangzhuo’s looks always made her feel comfortable, then the feeling this man gave off was like being drunk on peach blossom wine, softly swaying and gorgeous.
Qian Xiaoqi frowned. Why did she think of the word gorgeous? It feels really sissy!
Qian Xiaoqi glanced over again and examined those peach blossom eyes that looked over with a smile as well as those thin lips and that smooth, round chin that seemed like a woman’s. If it wasn’t gorgeous, then what is it?
Credits: Translated by Chiyomira, Special Thanks to google-sama
This chapter had a lot of terms. The reason I do it this way is to keep as much of the context as possible, as well as the fact that searching up and rephrasing the definitions helps me learn the chinese sayings and expressions. And some of it is just ranting, sorry, it’s been the longest chapter by far (in amount of time taken to translate). XP I’m translating half to read, and half to learn so bear with me guys!
As for the future of this series, I’ve contacted serene and we have… not exactly made a compromise. We’ve been giving rather vague responses in order not to create any hard feelings… and pretty much settled into silence. So, we’ll both be translating independently, which means, if you have the time, you can read both versions to get a better picture of what’s going on, maybe. XD
Also, I sincerely hope that Xiao Qi never gets to go to a book-telling again. Official Song, please catch and reprimand her. I’ll cry if you actually decide to go with her next time. The story was kinda interesting, but this chapter was ridiculous all because of that story, especially the long poem and the old expressions speckled everywhere. *Looks at all the candy wrappers left of the stress eating session while translating*
But done!!!!!!!!!! ✧*｡٩(ˊᗜˋ*)و✧*｡